Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Vintage for the Ages

Vintage for the ages of what???
How old is too old to wear vintage?
What exactly is "vintage" anyways? 
Those are the age-old questions in today's mash-up world of vintage/retro looks.

To answer the last question first: An antique is considered anything 50 years or older. That date for vintage is 20 years. Thus if it's older than 1967, it's an antique. But we are still calling fashion from the 60s, 50s, 40s, 30s and 20s "vintage". Likewise if it's older than 1997, it's "vintage". If it's newly made but in the style of a past era, it's called "retro". But you knew that already.

The first time I heard the term vintage given to what might be considered an "old dress" was the gown Julia Roberts wore to the Oscars in 2001. It was designed by Valentino in 1992. I have canned goods older than 9 years.

A "Pretty Woman" alright
Since then "vintage" is practically anything not from this season. We no longer have old clothes in our closets. That stuff is "vintage". I don't take it seriously. It's like calling Target "Tar-jay".

Is there an age-limit to wearing vintage? I once read you can only wear vintage from eras you were not alive and/or actually wearing clothes. That means I can wear looks from the 40s backward. This dictum in itself has an age limit. I do not want to look like an old silent film star a la Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard".

Not ready for my close-up
How should a WOACA* tackle vintage? By now you know what looks good on you, or should. We all wore miniskirts back in the day or felt left behind. Today you can disregard anything vintage that is less than flattering.

Avoid vintage looks that are not on trend. No 40s or 80s big shoulders. A few years ago high-waisted "mom" jeans were totally outdated. Today you can wear them— with a great tucked-in shirt and cool belt— but no pleats, please.

Look to classic vintage. I have a black turtleneck from B Altman circa 1965, which makes it "antique". That sweater is no different from one I could buy today. I scored a pair of plaid Pendelton wide-leg, high-waisted pants at a resale shop. The giveaway is the size label. Evidently a 14 was once the equivalent of today's 6. Chanel jackets, whether genuine or channeling Chanel are timeless, as are military jackets from Army surplus to Ralph Lauren. A cape is still a cape. A trench coat still has it.

Classy classics

Remember the icons. Marlene Dietrich's and Katherine Hepburn's man-tailored styles. Audrey Hepburn's capri pants and ballet flats. Jackie Kennedy's simple shifts. And my all-time favorite, Sharon Stone's GAP shirt and ballgown, another Oscar winner.

Berets are "in" this season, too.
Bridging the GAP

Ditch the trim. Avoid juvenile flounces and rick-rack, puffed sleeves and suspenders. Heidi was never a good role model.

Choose modern accessories. This is how vintage gets updated. I see chandelier earrings with t-shirts. If you like them, wear lots of bracelets. Go for on trend necklaces and au courant shoes. Accessories will make it yours.

Pin stripes perfected

Never do matchy-matchy. The only person who gets away with that is the Queen.

God save the touch of black.
*WOACA = Woman of a Certain Age